Leadership & Business Growth Books for August 2015

Here are our top picks for the best leadership and business growth books for August 2015:

Humans Are Underrated: What High Achievers Know That Brilliant Machines Never Will by Geoff Colvin

What hope will there be for us when computers can drive cars better than humans, predict Supreme Court decisions better than legal experts, identify faces, scurry helpfully around offices and factories, even perform some surgeries, all faster, more reliably, and less expensively than people?

It’s easy to imagine a nightmare scenario in which computers simply take over most of the tasks that people now get paid to do. While we’ll still need high-level decision makers and computer developers, those tasks won’t keep most working-age people employed or allow their living standard to rise. The unavoidable question—will millions of people lose out, unable to best the machine?—is increasingly dominating business, education, economics, and policy.

The bestselling author of Talent Is Overrated explains how the skills the economy values are changing in historic ways. The abilities that will prove most essential to our success are no longer the technical, classroom-taught left-brain skills that economic advances have demanded from workers in the past. Instead, our greatest advantage lies in what we humans are most powerfully driven to do for and with one another, arising from our deepest, most essentially human abilities—empathy, creativity, social sensitivity, storytelling, humor, building relationships, and expressing ourselves with greater power than logic can ever achieve. This is how we create durable value that is not easily replicated by technology—because we’re hardwired to want it from humans.

Unthinkable: The Culture and Politics of Getting Innovation Wrong by Tom Hopkins

Unthinkable is the first book on innovation to be written from the trenches. Expert Tom Hopkins explains why big companies so often fail to do new things, and clearly explores the solutions pioneered at product and service innovation company Fluxx.

Identify with real-life stories of new product development gone wrong. Learn about the underlying human and business factors which can derail even the most well equipped teams. Understand new approaches that can deliver successful outcome for you today.

Tom’s examples are drawn from extensive experience working with many of the world’s biggest brands at Fluxx, offering inspiration and enthusiasm for leaders embarking on the uphill struggle of innovation in established businesses.

Louder Than Words: Harness the Power of Your Authentic Voice by Todd Henry


“While your work speaks about you, does it really speak for you? Does it represent you well? The key to making your work resonate is to uncover, develop, and then bravely use your authentic voice.” – Louder Than Words

There has never been a better time to build an audience for your idea or product. But with so many people clamoring for attention online and offline, it’s also more challenging than ever to do work that deeply resonates and creates true and lasting effect.

How do you set yourself apart in such a noisy, crowded world? How do you do work that is truly remarkable?

The key is to develop your authentic voice. Whether you’re an entrepreneur, a writer, a designer, or a manager building a brand, the more clear and compelling your voice, the more your message will connect with your audience.

The result will be more impact, and greater personal satisfaction with your work.

Louder Than Words offers a strategy for uncovering, developing, and bravely using your authentic voice to create a body of work you are proud of, that resonates deeply with others, and that ultimately impacts the world.

Leading Continuous Change: Navigating Churn in The Real World by Bill Pasmore


Most change efforts fail because most change methods are built to deal with single challenges in a nice, neat, linear way. But leaders know that today, pressures for change don’t come at you one at a time; they come all at once. It’s like riding a roller coaster: sudden drops, jarring turns, anxious climbs into the unknown. Drawing on his years of experience at the Center for Creative Leadership and Columbia University, Bill Pasmore offers a four-part model and four mindsets that allow leaders to deal with multiple changes simultaneously without drowning in the churn.

The first step, Pasmore says, is to Discover which external pressures for change are the most necessary to address. The key here is to think fewer—step away from the buffet of possibilities and pinpoint the highest-impact options. Then you need to Decide how many change efforts your organization can handle. Here the mindset is to think scarcer—you have only so many people and so many resources, so how do you best use them? Once you’ve figured that out, it’s time to Do—and here you want to think faster. Streamline processes and engage in rapid prototyping so you can learn quickly and cost-effectively. The last step is to Discern what worked and what didn’t, so think smarter—develop metrics, identify trends, and make sure learnings are disseminated throughout the organization.

For each stage of the process, Pasmore offers detailed advice, practical tools, and real-world examples. This book is a comprehensive guide to navigating change the way it happens now.

Rising Strong by Brene’ Brown

Social scientist Brené Brown has ignited a global conversation on courage, vulnerability, shame, and worthiness. Her pioneering work uncovered a profound truth: Vulnerability—the willingness to show up and be seen with no guarantee of outcome—is the only path to more love, belonging, creativity, and joy. But living a brave life is not always easy: We are, inevitably, going to stumble and fall.

It is the rise from falling that Brown takes as her subject in Rising Strong. As a grounded theory researcher, Brown has listened as a range of people—from leaders in Fortune 500 companies and the military to artists, couples in long-term relationships, teachers, and parents—shared their stories of being brave, falling, and getting back up. She asked herself, What do these people with strong and loving relationships, leaders nurturing creativity, artists pushing innovation, and clergy walking with people through faith and mystery have in common? The answer was clear: They recognize the power of emotion and they’re not afraid to lean in to discomfort.

Walking into our stories of hurt can feel dangerous. But the process of regaining our footing in the midst of struggle is where our courage is tested and our values are forged. Our stories of struggle can be big ones, like the loss of a job or the end of a relationship, or smaller ones, like a conflict with a friend or colleague. Regardless of magnitude or circumstance, the rising strong process is the same: We reckon with our emotions and get curious about what we’re feeling; we rumble with our stories until we get to a place of truth; and we live this process, every day, until it becomes a practice and creates nothing short of a revolution in our lives. Rising strong after a fall is how we cultivate wholeheartedness. It’s the process, Brown writes, that teaches us the most about who we are.

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